The influence of lateral implicit visual affective stimuli on the evaluation of neutral stimuli in humans
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It is now well established that implicit affect influences explicit judgments. Findings from neurobiological studies indicate a relationship between the functioning of the human cerebral hemispheres and emotions. The aim of the present research was to examine: (1) the direction of influence on neutral targets of suboptimal primes exposed for a duration of 16 ms, (2) whether the influence of affective suboptimal primes on neutral targets depends on the hemisphere to which the prime is directed. We predicted that affective primes exposed centrally would influence the evaluation of neutral target stimuli in a direction opposite to that of their explicit effect. Second, we posited that the influence of primes on the evaluation of neutral target stimuli would be different depending on the visual field in which the primes were exposed. We present combined data from four experiments, conducted in a visual affective priming paradigm. Neutral target stimuli (ideographs exposed for a duration of 2 seconds) were sub-optimally primed by photographs of faces expressing joy or disgust exposed in either the LVF, RVF or CVF. Subjects were asked ?to state how negative/positive the character trait that is represented by a given ideograph is'. The hypotheses were supported. The evaluation of ideographs after negative priming was more positive than the evaluation of ideographs after positive priming (indicating a contrast effect). This effect appeared only when affective priming stimuli were exposed in the central visual field. The evaluation of ideographs differed depending on the visual field of prime exposure conditions: exposure of affective primes in the right visual field resulted in more positive evaluations of ideographs than ideographs following primes in the left visual field.
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Dorota Kobylinska, Faculty of Psychology, Warsaw University, 5/7 Stawki St., 00-183 Warsaw, Poland